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County Board Candidates Address Affordable Housing

by Katie Pyzyk | January 9, 2012 at 3:50 pm | 3,523 views | 157 Comments

(Updated at 4:00 p.m.) The five Democratic candidates running in a special election for the open County Board seat have weighed in on affordable housing in Arlington. The candidates submitted their essays to the Alliance for Housing Solutions, which asked all to answer the same three questions.

In short, the questions asked what the county’s priority should be for affordable housing, how the county can meet its goal of increasing affordable housing and what actions should be taken to preserve or increase affordable housing.

Libby Garvey is one of the candidates citing the issue as a top priority. She says the county should be concerned about the loss of two-thirds of its affordable housing since 2000, and increasing the supply is crucial to Arlington.

“If we are to preserve Arlington as a diverse and vibrant community we need to have people from all income levels living and working here,” Garvey said. “This is an increasingly large and difficult challenge in a community like Arlington.”

Most of the candidates didn’t believe Arlington had met its goals for affordable housing. Melissa Bondi says missing the goal shows the need for a change in strategy.

“The best response is not to change the target – rather, it is to increase the variety of existing, expanded and new tools that will be needed to meet the needs of Arlington residents across the full housing continuum,” Bondi said.

Peter Fallon suggested that developers should do more in terms of supporting affordable housing in Arlington.

“For profit developers have not accepted the business case for constructing affordable housing,” Fallon said.

Fallon is among the candidates who supports incentivizing production of affordable housing so it is more attractive to developers. Kim Klinger also supports looking into financial incentives. Additionally, she believes the county should investigate more programs for using existing properties, as opposed to only building new ones.

“Our commitment to affordable housing may also include the use of tools that address housing rehabilitation programs, multi-family improvement programs, great house concepts, and adaptive reuse,” Klingler said.

In regards to preserving or increasing affordable housing, Terron Sims says Arlington County has existing tools that can be used to increase the affordable housing supply.

“It is ultimately a policy question that involves tax subsidies, expenditure of tax revenue and, possibly, zoning changes,” Sims said.

The full readout of candidate answers is available on the Alliance for Housing Solutions website.

The Greene Turtle Opens in Ballston

by Katie Pyzyk | January 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm | 8,288 views | 44 Comments

The Greene Turtle (900 N. Glebe Rd) in Ballston has officially opened for business.

More than 50 televisions hang on the walls and certain booths have individual TVs that patrons can control. TVs along the windows allow fans to keep one eye on game action while keeping the other on action outside.

General Manager Scott Smith says patrons can expect the same service and sports environment people enjoy at The Greene Turtle’s other locations. He wants people in the area to stop by and give the newest one a try.

“There are a lot of sports bars, a lot of sports bars have a lot of TVs, but there’s nothing like this,” Smith said.

The Greene Turtle touts fare above and beyond typical bar food. New York strip steaks and crab cakes are a couple of the less traditional sports bar offerings.

“We pride ourselves on the execution of our food,” Smith said. “We want to bring a different level of service to the area.”

Another aspect that sets this place apart is the customer loyalty program. Customers can purchase one of the famous Greene Turtle mugs and bring it back for future fill-ups.

The Greene Turtle has more than two dozen locations around the D.C./Baltimore region, including two locations along the Delaware shore. The new Ballston location will eventually have outdoor seating when the weather improves.

Although the Greene Turtle will technically be a Redskins and Virginia Tech bar, they guarantee that not just local games will be shown. Every game will be on at least one of the TVs. Smith does point out, however, that Virginia Tech is the building’s landlord so that team will be particularly celebrated.

Besides the new Virginia Tech development, more improvement projects are slated for Ballston. The hope is that the Greene Turtle will gather a solid following, and be considered one of the forefront examples of positive expansion.

“It is an awesome area,” Smith said. “It’s good to get in early.”

Spotted: Snow Flurries in Arlington

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm | 2,490 views | 33 Comments

(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Normally, a few non-accumulating snow flurries in mid-January wouldn’t be the least bit notable. But given the anemic winter we’ve had thus far, we thought the brief bout of snow activity spotted around Arlington this afternoon was worth a mention.

Forecasters say the flakes could last a couple more hours, and could create a light coating on grassy areas, especially for points south of Arlington.

Don’t expect a triumphant return of winter weather just yet, however. High temperatures are expect to head back up to the mid-50′s by mid-week.

Walking Survey Results Released

by Katie Pyzyk | January 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm | 2,194 views | 31 Comments

Clarendon is the area of Arlington that people most often target for walking, according to results from the recent Arlington County Commuter Services survey.

The 2011 ACCS WalkArlington Study gathered input from 985 respondents, and found that more than half walk daily throughout the community. 86% report making a trip entirely by walking at least twice a week.

The top reasons for walking include running errands and getting exercise. Commuting is another reason, with 56% of people saying they walk for at least part of their commute at least once a week.

In regards to safety, the county’s walkers aren’t overly concerned about crime, but worry about sharing the roads with vehicles. 54% say aggressive or inattentive drivers pose a safety threat to walkers.

WalkArlington is a county initiative aimed at getting people walking more for health, environmental and commuting benefits. 44% of survey respondents had heard of the initiative, but only 21% have used the organization’s services.

The survey found that two-thirds of respondents participated after seeing the request on ARLnow.com. Full survey results are available here.

Yorktown Aquatic Center Opening on Sunday

by Katie Pyzyk | January 9, 2012 at 10:26 am | 3,031 views | 42 Comments

In mere days, anyone looking to dive into a new exercise routine for the new year will have another option. The Yorktown Aquatic Center is set to open on Sunday.

The facility replaces Yorktown’s older pool that had been in use for decades. Visitors now have access to an eight-lane competition pool and a separate instructional pool. There’s also a separate diving area with two springboards and a scoreboard. At least 175 people can overlook the pools from the spectator area. The facility also houses a “wet classroom” which will be available to rent for pool parties.

Sunday’s grand opening open house celebration will run during normal facility hours, from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You can get the full operating schedule here. The pool is located on the Yorktown Boulevard side of campus, and can be accessed from the parking area on 28th Street.

Nominees Wanted for Women of Vision Awards

by Katie Pyzyk | January 9, 2012 at 9:35 am | 1,758 views | 36 Comments

In anticipation of Women’s History Month in March, the Arlington County Commission on the Status of Women is currently seeking nominees for the 2012 Women of Vision Awards.

The awards are given to people who show a consistent dedication to working in the community to advance women’s issues, and to improving the lives of local women and girls.

The three categories are business, non-profit and government. Each nominee is scored on criteria such as engaging other community members to realize her vision, and leaving a lasting impression on the community. Individuals must also live, work or volunteer in Arlington to be eligible.

The first of these awards was given in 1988. In 2010, the name was changed from “Person of Vision Award” to “Women of Vision Award.”

Nominations must be submitted by February 9. Award winners get to attend Arlington County’s Women of Vision awards ceremony on March 8.

Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com | January 9, 2012 at 8:00 am | 2,076 views | 61 Comments

Favola Endorses Garvey — State Senator-elect Barbara Favola has endorsed School Board member Libby Garvey in the special election race to fill her former County Board seat. Calling Garvey “a proven leader,” Favola said in a statement that Garvey had the skills, experience and values to be an effective County Board member. “Libby will work to protect our core services including human services, affordable housing, and public schools as we continue to grow and change as a community,” Favola said.

Moran to Face Primary Challenge — Rep. Jim Moran (D) is facing a potential primary challenge this year. Fairfax County resident Will Radle says he will challenge the long-time incumbent in this year’s Democratic primary. One reason Radle cited for challenging Moran: “the congressman’s ineffectiveness securing more take-home pay for federal employees.” (On Friday, however, Moran issued a statement calling for federal employees to receive a larger cost-of-living increase than the 0.5 percent raise proposed by the Obama administration.) Radle has previously run for office as an Independent Green and a Republican. [Alexandria Times]

Clinic Director Named ‘Washingtonian of the Year’ — Nancy Pallesen, the executive director of the Arlington Free Clinic, has been named one of Washingtonian magazine’s “Washingtonians of the Year” for 2012. [Sun Gazette]

Flickr pool photo by Alex

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